Abbots Langley are one more win away from retaining their Watford Observer Fourteen14 Shield title after reaching their fourth final in six years with an ultimately comfortable six-wicket victory over Bushey last night.

The holders, who beat neighbours Kings Langley in last year’s final, chased down a target of 139 with 11 balls to spare to set up a clash with the winners of this evening’s second semi-final between West Herts and Watford Haidery.

It had looked a tricky ask for Abbots at the halfway stage after their opponents, thanks in large part to the efforts of big-hitting Parvinder Malliya, had posted a challenging 138 for seven from their 14, eight-ball overs at Leverstock Green’s ground.

After a watchful start to their reply though, the holders increasingly asserted themselves and rarely looked in danger of seeing their trophy defence end at the last-four stage.

Bushey opted to bat after winning the toss but their opponents would have been relatively content at restricting them to 51 for two at the mid-point of their innings, albeit with the score aided by the extras column under the competition’s four runs for a wide rule.

An acceleration was needed if Bushey were to set a competitive total though, and it came in impressive fashion with 41 runs added off the next 16 balls.

Parvinder led the charge, cracking two sixes in the eighth over, before Usama Butt joined in the maximum-hitting fun during the next eight deliveries.

Usama (17) was to perish with the score on 101 in the 10th over to the first of two well-judged catches by George Agius on the boundary.

Parvinder reached his half-century and struck another six before he was also caught by Agius for a well-made 61. That was the second of a three wickets for James Allan (3-45) who, in tandem with Anish Khiroya (2-23) ensured Bushey had to settle for adding only 38 runs from the last 40 deliveries of their innings.

Abbots openers Agius and Matthew Longworth were also aided by some loose wide deliveries early on, but they chose to be cautious initially, at times settling for singles when an extra run looked achievable.

However, Langley’s first big over came in the fifth when Longworth (20) struck the first six before he was the first wicket to fall soon after, with Agius also clearing the boundary as 16 runs accelerated the score to 52-1.

Agius (23) was dismissed in the next over but with Abbots already ahead at the corresponding stage of the match, new batsmen Simon Hamilton and Matt Parkins were content to start steadily before striking out.

Two maximums for Hamilton helped ensure 18 runs came off the eighth over, 15 more were added in the ninth and a six from Parkins contributed to another 17 in the next over to take Abbots to 118 for two and put them within touching distance of another final.

Hamilton was removed in the next over for his side's top score of 38, but Parkins finished unbeaten on 37 as a wide ultimately saw Abbots over the winning line.

This evening’s second semi-final will be played at Kings Langley with play due to start at 6.15pm.

The final is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, July 10 at West Herts.